Saturday, May 8, 2010

Organic Art & the Great Outdoors - Palm Branch Art

Since we live in the Sunshine State, and since our palms were in need  of a trim, it was a perfect day to do an art project.

We gathered two clippings from the cut palm branches, then my husband used a saw to cut off the prickly part, near the base of the stem.

Did a quick scan to make sure that the branches were free of any little critters / bugs, as am pretty sure that a little lizard or some ants would not like to get painted.

Initially, Big Bro was not too keen about doing the art project, as he was having fun with the rake and helping his Daddy with gathering the branches.
 But when he saw that Little Bro was excited and was getting prepared to do the art project, he changed his mind and joined in the fun.

Both boys selected their branches.

Then, they selected their paints and poured them onto lids from plastic bins.
 (I have found that lids from plastic bins work well for art projects...
They are flexible, washable, come in a variety of sizes, and are lightweight.)

Then, they dipped their branches into the paint and began to paint with them.
Little Bro's branch stayed more stiff than Big Bro's...not sure if it was because Big Bro's branch was more saturated with paint, or because he was manipulating it more by bending and twisting it, but it worked out well that theirs were different, as it gave them something to discuss as they were painting.

Using local, organic materials helps to make your child's world a little more concrete to them.
Even if you live in an area without palm trees, you are bound to have cool things nearby where you live that will work for an art project.
Dipping rocks, clippings from bushes, pine cones, leaves, flowers, or sticks will all be a way to make a natural connection between art and the great outdoors.

Montessori tie-in:
This art project works well when you are learning about the parts of a plant or when you are learning names for different trees or flowers, etc.
When you find that you have these sorts of works on your shelves and if the weather cooperates, then consider adding this art extension during this time.

Reggio Emilia tie-in:
When your children begin to show an interest in the trees and flowers in your yard and they say that they want to do an art project, and when your yard needs a little trim, prepare the materials and let your children come up with their own creations.
Depending on how many clippings you have and what your child decides he or she would like to create, you may wish to put materials out such as glue and thicker card stock paper, so that if by chance that they would prefer to make a collage using the materials instead of the paint project, they can head in that direction...leave it up to them...

Some suggestions for you...
Do the project outside, if possible, or else on a floor surface.
Do with finger paint paper and washable finger paint. This way, your children can get messy and it will clean up. Plus, the paint will not be harmful to your yard when you go to wash it off.
We used Crayola Washable Finger Paint and Melissa & Doug Finger Paint paper and they worked well for us.
Aprons are helpful or else have them wear play clothes.

 Have fun!

6 comments:

Honey said...

When we were little we lived in Tampa. I remember making little baskets out of palm leaves.

Honey

Tracy said...

I've heard that you can also make little brooms out of palm leaves. I've always thought that making a little broom would be delightful.

The Sunshine Crew said...

We will have to try making some brooms and or baskets.
Luckily, we still have ample branches to use, as more trees need to be trimmed in the other parts of our yard.
Thanks for both of the suggestions:)

Jennifer said...

Wish we were still in FL... this looks like fun. We may just have to try it with some pine branches!

welcome to our wonderland said...

very cool, my girls love making leaf prints those would make some awesome ones

Deb Chitwood @ Living Montessori Now said...

I love this for an outdoor summer activity! I’m featuring it as Monday's Activity of the Week at http://LivingMontessoriNow.com. Even though not everyone has palm trees, the activity would work well with pine cones, rocks, and leaves.

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